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The Latest: French official says Trump should keep quiet

December 9, 2018
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Buildings are reflected in smashed windows in Paris, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018. Paris monuments reopened, cleanup workers cleared debris and shop owners tried to put the city on its feet again Sunday, after running battles between yellow-vested protesters and riot police left 71 injured and caused widespread damage to the French capital. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

PARIS (AP) — The latest on the unrest in France (all times local):

10:40 p.m.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian says U.S. President Donald Trump should not comment on France’s domestic affairs, notably nationwide protests that began over fuel tax hikes meant to wean the nation off fossil fuels.

President Emmanuel Macron withdrew the planned increase last week in a failed bid to appease sometimes violent protesters.

Trump has tweeted twice on the issue, saying in one tweet this weekend that “the Paris agreement isn’t working out so well for Paris.” It was a reference to the 2015 Paris climate accord, which the U.S. is leaving and which Macron has championed worldwide.

Le Drian said on LCI TV on Sunday: “We don’t take part in American debates. Let us live our own national life.”

He says Macron has told Trump the same thing.

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8:50 p.m.

French President Emmanuel Macron will address the nation on Monday evening, breaking a long silence over rising protests that are shaking France.

An official of the Elysee Palace ended the mystery about when Macron would publicly tackle the issues arising from protests of a grassroots movement that have culminated four Saturdays in a row with massive demonstrations — marked by violence and vandalism — in cities around France, especially Paris.

The official said the president will address the nation in a speech from the Elysee Palace. The official wasn’t authorized to speak publicly and asked to remain anonymous.

Protesters center their anger over rising prices on Macron who withdrew a fuel tax hike last week to try to bring calm. However, demands have multiplied during his long silence.

--By Sylvie Corbet

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7:10 p.m.

Paris’ chief prosecutor says that nearly 1,000 people, nearly 100 of them minors and most without police records, are being held in custody after weekend protests in the French capital that turned violent.

Remy Heitz also said at a news conference on Sunday that the prosecutor’s office was seeking preliminary charges against who they believe is the main person responsible for graffiti scrawled on the Arc de Triomphe last weekend. Thirteen others were already handed preliminary charges over vandalism of the monument.

Heitz said that most of those in custody were men under 40 from various regions who came to Paris for the fourth Saturday of protests by a ballooning grassroots movement angry about a fuel tax hike and other issues.

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5:50 p.m.

An official says that French President Emmanuel Macron plans to bring together national and local officials on Monday to hear their proposals in this “grave moment the nation is traversing.”

The Elysee Palace official said on Sunday that the goal is to mobilize into action the panoply of officials representing political, economic and social forces of France in a bid to unwind a spiral of protests. The official wasn’t authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Macron is expected to address the nation early in the week, breaking a silence that has fed the fury of the grassroots movement, which has expanded and radicalized.

New violence hit Paris and a handful of other cities in the fourth Saturday protest by the protesters dubbed yellow vests for the bright safety vests they often wear.

--By Sylvie Corbet.

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10 a.m.

France’s Interior Ministry says 1,220 people were taken into custody around France during the latest yellow vest protests — a roundup the scale of which the country hasn’t seen in years.

Police frisked protesters Saturday at train stations around the country, confiscating everything from heavy metal petanque balls to tennis rackets — anything that could remotely be used as a weapon.

The Eiffel Tower and Louvre Museum reopened Sunday after closing amid Saturday’s rioting. Shops assessed looting damage Sunday and cleared out broken glass, after shutting down on Saturday at the height of the holiday shopping season.

Fierce winds and rain pummeled Paris overnight, complicating Sunday’s cleanup efforts. Used tear gas canister lids lay scattered on the cobblestones of the Champs-Elysees.

In the melee Saturday, protesters had ripped off the plywood protecting Parisian store windows and threw flares and other projectiles. French riot police repeatedly repelled them with tear gas and water cannon.

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8 a.m.

Paris monuments reopened, cleanup workers cleared debris and shop owners tried to put the city on its feet again Sunday, a day after running battles between yellow-vested protesters and riot police left 71 injured and caused widespread damage to the French capital.

The man who unleashed the anger, President Emmanuel Macron, broke his silence to tweet his appreciation for the police overnight, but pressure mounted on him to propose new solutions to calm the anger dividing France.

The number of injured in Paris and nationwide was down Saturday from protest riots a week ago, and most of the capital remained untouched, but the violence in neighborhoods popular with tourists is tarnishing the country’s image.

Exceptional police deployment failed to deter determined protesters, and some 125,000 took to the streets Saturday around France with a bevy of ever-expanding demands related to the country’s high living costs.

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